College sport superstars in line for Bradford Sports Awards 2020

Jasmin Akter with Unsung Hero Award Everything in Sport

Two sports heroes from Bradford College have been named finalists in this year’s Bradford Sports Awards 2020.

Racket sport coach Farook Khan and cricketer Jasmin Akter have been selected against tough competition to appear at the award ceremony recognising the city’s talent.

Farook Khan, who has been nominated in the Coach category, has been a committed racket sport coach at Bradford College for many years. He said: “It came as a surprise to be nominated, let alone be shortlisted as a finalist.”

Growing up his favourite sport was football, and as a teenager he dreamed of going professional. He won a scholarship to a university in Phoenix, Arizona, that was trying to raise the profile of soccer. While over there, he began coaching other players to help them improve their skills and understanding of the sport. On his return to the UK he obtained a degree in sports science at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and become a qualified coach. He coached football for 10 years and helped find new talent for different football clubs.

But after 18 years focussed on football, it was on holiday in Malaysia that he came across badminton. He quickly fell in love with the sport, and, upon his return, used his determination to train himself and becoming a highly skilled player.

He has introduced students to badminton who had never seen or tried the sport before. His passion and enthusiasm have become infectious and his students now enjoy regularly playing the game. From among these students, Farook pulled a badminton team together and entered them into the Association of Colleges (AoC) Yorkshire Badminton Championships. His coaching and training led the team to astounding success, as in their first tournament, the Bradford College Badminton Team came first. They will now represent the Yorkshire region at the AoC Sport National Championships in Nottingham this April.

Farook is looking to encourage students to study coaching skills next year. He said: “I enjoy sharing my passion for sport, and love that my job enables me to help students achieve their dreams. That’s what coaching is.”

Many in Bradford will already be familiar with the name Jasmin Akter as her achievements have received international recognition. The 18-year-old business student, who is in the running for the Sportswoman 18+ category, represented England in the Street Child Cricket World Cup last year. An event designed to raise awareness of youth homelessness worldwide, the competition brought together teams of teenagers from nine different countries. Jasmin’s athleticism and leadership qualities shone through in the tournament as England reached the finals.

In December she was named named Everything In Sport’s Unsung Hero in Women’s Sport 2019 - just weeks after being selected as one of BBC’s Most Influential Women of The Year Worldwide alongside Greta Thunberg, Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez and Megan Rapinoe.

Born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh shortly after her father passed away, for almost a decade Jasmin lived in what she has described as “destitute poverty. I did not have access to education or my human rights.”

The Rohingya refugee was resettled into the UK with her family when she was eight years old. Through the Bradford College’s enrichment activities, Jasmin was offered an outlet to continue cricket and football and was able to develop her amazing talents. In 2018 she featured in the BBC Three documentary Bats, Balls and Bradford Girls which told the story of an all-Asian girls’ cricket team battling prejudices to play cricket.

Jasmin has acted as a Young Leader for Street Child United, which uses the power of sport, especially international sporting events, to change the perception of street-connected children all over the world.

Chris Taylor, Sports Development Officer at Bradford College, said: “Jasmin is a fantastic role model for girls in Bradford.”

From more than 230 unique nominations, 53 finalists were selected across 18 awards showcasing the district’s breadth of talent. The awards will take place on Thursday 12 March 2020 at the Utilita Energy Stadium, home of Bradford City FC.

More information about the awards, including details of how to get tickets to the ceremony, is available at http://www.activebradford.com/bsa/